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AI Case Study

Dun & Bradstreet saves 10,000 hours of work annually by using natural language processing to categorise five million firms in its directory

Dun & Bradstreet provides detailed information about five million businesses in the UK. To correctly categories the businesses into 1,000 industry classifications took a team over 10,000 hours annually. Using natural language processing to scan the internet to learn the jargon of a category it for the most part automated the process of business categorisation.


Professional Services

Consultancy And Business Services

Project Overview

"Evolution AI used technology with an...understanding of context to solve a tough problem for commercial data provider Dun & Bradstreet, namely how to rapidly and accurately sort millions of companies into industry categories. "

Evolution AI’s system autonomously seeks out information across the Internet, much like a human researcher. By reading web-pages relevant to topics of interest (e.g., accountancy, publishing or zoos) it learns the jargon of each industry – and can even actively fill gaps in its knowledge through further research. After reading huge quantities of text, it recognises how words are used in many different contexts. Primed with this knowledge, the technology can understand the true meaning of the information Dun & Bradstreet holds about each company. The system decides how to categorise the company by comparing how closely this information matches the ‘language fingerprints’ it has learned to associate with various industries."

"Dun & Bradstreet uses the system to update and verify its database of UK companies. All these classification decisions are automatically tagged with a confidence score. When the system can’t confidently classify any companies, the staff in Dun & Bradstreet’s validation team will focus their attention on researching these cases. From this ongoing human feedback, the system keeps learning about changes to companies and categories - and keeps improving its results."

Reported Results

The system replaced about 10,000 hours of work. It is not being rolled out to the larger US market that has over 20 million businesses in its directory.



Information Technology

Knowledge Management


Dun and Bradstreet provides commercial data and analytics for businesses. It includes a comprehensive directory of 5 million businesses and firm in the UK that are categorised into around 1000 industry categories. It took a large team of telephone researchers about a year to categories these firms.



Business listings. Web pages.

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